How Isolation Taught Me that I’m Never Alone.
I was on a ‘writing retreat’ in beautiful Kerrville, Texas. Curtis and Jeanie, my hosts and dear friends, had given me the use of a sweet, comfortable cabin to work in during a self-imposed period of isolation. I needed to focus on presentations for a few upcoming women’s events. I was behind in writing my blog posts. And I was in the beginning stages of writing a book. There was much to do.
I went out to stretch my legs before going to bed the first night and was awestruck by the artistry and magnificence of the night sky. The stars were amazingly brilliant! The sky looked like a sprawling, spotted carpet. I was able to identify a few constellations. The not-quite-full moon was huge and beautiful. I was vaguely aware of the river flowing by as it moved downstream. It was a holy moment. I’d forgotten how captivating the moon and stars can be and how much better one can see them when you are away from the city.
Night after night, all of that brilliance and beauty are on display above us, waiting to be seen. Rather like God, their creator, who wants to meet us in holy moments. Many folks never see the beauty of our loving creator or the night sky. Why?
Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Living in a large city, it’s easy to forget how vivid the night sky is. We’re so busy ‘going and doing’ that we seldom look up. Surely you, too, have noticed the evening sky glowing with beautiful colors and tried to take a look, only to have your view obscured by trees, buildings or your neighbor’s roofline? Our view is often blocked by the things around us such as rooftops, bridges, signs, and tall buildings.
The glare from stores, porch lights, car lights, and lighted signs makes it hard to see much of anything beyond the street lights. The impact of the night sky is diluted by the lesser, man-made lights. It’s referred to as ‘light pollution’.
Here’s the thing, even though I can’t always see the night sky, it’s still there. Always. It’s beautiful and brilliant. Always.
You gotta get away from the glare to see what’s there.
If you really want to see the stars, you need to get away from the glare of all the other, lesser lights. You have to go out beyond all of the obstructions, barriers, and buildings.
Did you know that the Bible has over 50 references to the stars? They are a testimony to God. And just like the stars, God is often blocked by the ’stuff’ around us. We may claim that we don’t see him, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t there.
Our work, recreation, and entertainment can get in the way. Sometimes our sin puts a barrier between us and the creator. The ‘lesser lights’ create a glare. The attractions of this world obscure our view of a loving God who wants to meet us in ‘holy moments’.
Who’s hiding from whom?
Have you ever looked for God and had difficulty seeing him? Perhaps he was blocked because lesser, man-made matters diverted our eyes. In our busyness, he seems to fade into the background. Remember that in the garden of Eden, God was not the one hiding. Adam and Eve hid from God because their sin had changed the way they saw God. God had not changed.
Who’s whispering in your ear?
Satan, the big liar, is well pleased when the ‘lesser lights’ wash out the brilliance of God and the heavens. He puts things in our way and whispers lies and distractions in our ears to keep us from looking upward. We can become so busy and distracted looking at the things of this world that we don’t bother even looking for God anymore. Satan has blocked our view. But the stars are still there, in all their brilliance God is still there, in all his holiness, waiting to be seen.
When you’re alone, you’re not alone.
Scripture shows us that Jesus often withdrew to quiet, lonely places to pray. He understood the importance of isolation and focus. Jesus knew that holy moments take place away from noise and distractions. Many people will not allow themselves quiet seclusion as they are trying to avoid this very encounter with God.
Me? I’m just beginning to learn the value of silence and isolation. I’m starting to appreciate their value. How about you?